210803 - Tribal used African Markha N' Tomo face mask - Mali.


Old and Rare Tribal used African blue Brass Markha face mask from Mali.

This type of mask is used in initiation ceremonies.

Hand carved from a single piece of wood and shells.

Material: wood and Brass.

Height: 67 cm.

This mask was collected between 1930 and 1960 and ended up in my private collection in 1998.

N'tomo masks are used by the Bambara people of West Africa. There are six male initiation societies that young males must pass through before becoming a man. N'tomo Dyo is the first of these through which boys pass before their circumcision.The mask represents the legendary ancestor of the Bambara and it is a symbol of protection.
The mask is made of wood and may be covered in shells, seeds or brass. The face maybe more or less abstract, but is always topped by a row of vertical projections. The number of spikes indicates whether the mask is masculine, feminine or androgynous. Three, six or nine are male; four and eight are female; and two, five and seven are androgynous. The mask was also used at agricultural festivities and to prevent illness.